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The latest Shopping Index echoes what we’ve been watching over the past two quarters – shopper spend growth outpaced traffic growth as the primary driver of digital commerce growth, which came in at 14% in the second quarter.

Consider this the official recalibration of ecommerce expectations – You will achieve growth by successfully engaging a shopper on-site. The ‘field of dreams’ approach – if you build it, they will come — isn’t good enough. It hasn’t been for some time. Simply driving hordes of consumers to your site won’t automatically yield success. The major engagement indicators corroborate this trend. Buying Intent continues to tick up, and is about to breach its all-time high (even including peak holiday shopping levels). Overall, nearly 20% of visitors are either buying or showing clear signs of buying behavior, like searching, adding products to a cart, and starting checkouts.

Put bluntly, your job is to be great at connecting shopper to product. How? Here are three areas of investment that will lead towards improving that shopper-product connection:

  • Findability: The digital heavyweights — Amazon and Google — are conditioning consumers to search. Site search is an absolutely crucial utility for your shoppers, accounting for 10% of site visits and 23% of all revenue – and both values are increasing. More searches plus wider product catalogs shift even more burden onto merchants to provide the right search results. To help alleviate some of this burden, put the machines to work – embed Artificial Intelligence into search to paint the search results with relevance.
  • Personalization: the product detail page (PDP) is the new battleground — the page where more and more shoppers are landing, and the key decision point for shoppers; it’s the point where they decide whether to add an item to their cart, or not. Beyond the ‘add to cart’ button, personalizing the PDP is a mandate, and helps shoppers navigate either back to recently viewed items or forward to discover something selected just for them.
  • The Brand Connection: why do shoppers love brands like American Giant, ModCloth, Everlane and Life Is Good? Because they stand for something, allowing for the shopper to connect on a more personal level. Each brand tells their story and immerses the shopper in that feeling throughout their journey. Your brand is the conduit that connects shopper and product. Don’t forget to humanize the experience.

Retailers have come to rely on digital commerce to provide the growth for the entire enterprise, overcoming flat or even negative store comps. This digital growth recalibration – shifting from traffic-focused to spend-focused – means that retailers must make the site experience fantastic, and centered on connecting the shopper with the product.

For more data-driven insights, take a look at the latest Shopping Index, which uncovers the true story of shopping activity of more than 500 million shoppers across the globe, with a focus on key markets: the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Germany, France and Australia/New Zealand. This battery of benchmarks provides a deep look into the last nine quarters and the current state of digital commerce.